STEERING COMMITTEE

The OVA Steering Committee is the principal body to lead The OVA consisting of over 20 multidisciplinary stakeholders. The goal of the coalition is to implement and support innovative citywide interventions that specifically address contributors to maternal mortality identified by the MMRC.

Amal Bass
JD
Director of Policy and Advocacy and Interim Co-Executive Director at the Women's Law Project
Gail Carter-Hamilton
MSN, RN, CSN
Chief Racial Equity for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
Morgan Cephas
BA
PA State Representative 192nd District

Imani Davis
.
Community Specialist at Strategy Arts

‍‍
Mari-Carmen Farmer
MSN, CNM, WHNP-BC
Midwife at Jefferson University Hospital
Judith Faust
.
Einstein Medical Center

Roxanne Green
.
Lived Experience Expert

Sarah Hexem
JD
Executive Director at the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium
Jovida Hill
.
Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Office of Engagement for Women
Roy Hoffman
MD, MPH
Medical Director of the Fatality Review Program (FRP) at the  MedicalExaminer's Office
‍‍
Paula Hood
CRS
Lived Experience Expert


Stacy Kallem
MD, MSHP
Director of the Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
David Kelly
MD, MPA
Chief Medical Officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services of Medical Assistance Programs
Brittany Lewis
MA
Lived Experience Expert


Melissa Patti
MSW, LCSW
Director of Maternal and Infant Health Initiatives at the Greater Philadelphia March of Dimes
Karen Pollack
MSW
Executive Vice President of Programs and Operations at the Maternity Care Coalition
Mia Roundtree
.
Lived Experience Expert


Seun Ross
DNP, MS, CRNP-F, NP-C
Executive Director of Health Equity at Independence Blue Cross
Sindhu Sirinivas
MD, MSCE
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Director of Obstetrical Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Shannin Smith
AAS
Lived Experience Expert and Birth Arts certified full spectrum doula

Chelsea Sormilich
CRS
Program Director of Unity Recovery's Pregnant and Postpartum Recovery Program
Tara Trego
MEd.
Director, Bureau of Family Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health
Melissa Weiler Gerber
JD, cum laude
President and CEO of AccessMatters Philadelphia
Azucena Ugarte
PhD
Director of The Office of Domestic Violence Strategies for the City of Philadelphia
Saleema McNeil
CLC, MS, MFT
CEO of Oshun Family Center

Backbone

Aasta Mehta

MD, MPP
a headshot of Aasta Mehta

Aasta D. Mehta, MD, MPP is the Medical Officer of Women’s Health for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and OB/GYN clinical faculty at Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Mehta completed her OB/GYN Residency and Public Policy/Women’s Health Advocacy Fellowship at Drexel University College of Medicine.  With the support of Drexel University, Dr. Mehta completed her master’s degree in Public Policy. Her public health work is focused on surveillance and programmatic implementation to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, particularly racial disparities.  Dr. Mehta directs the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review and Fetal Infant Mortality Review programs, leads the Philadelphia Labor and Delivery Leadership Group, serves as President-Elect of The Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, and is Mayor-appointed to the Philadelphia Women’s Commission for which she is currently Vice Chair.  Outside of Philadelphia, she represents PDPH and Penn Medicine at the state level as a member of the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, the Child Death Review Committee, the Policy Chair of the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative, and Secretary of Pennsylvania section of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Email

Nia Coaxum

MPH, CHES

Nia Coaxum, MPH, CHES is the Maternal Health Coordinator of Community Projects for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Family Health Division. She received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health from West Chester University. For the past 4.5 years she worked in the prevention field, with a primary focus on youth substance use prevention. Nia is also a Certified Health Education Specialist, Birth and Postpartum Doula, and is in the process of becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor. She is committed to improving birth experiences and decreasing maternal health disparities through education and advocacy throughout all stages of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Email

Imani Davis

Community Specialist

Imani is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia and a mom of two children, Curt (12 years) and Asani (3 years). After graduating from Central High school (259th class) she earned a certificate as a coding specialist and worked as a data specialist, customer care specialist, and administrative health assistant. She is now working as a stay-at-home mom and a Community Specialist for Strategy Arts on the OVA project.

After having a traumatic birth experience with her second child where she experienced racism, Imani began to educate herself on the racial disparities in maternal and infant health that Black and Brown women in Philadelphia face. She brings a commitment to being part of a change that will keep Black and Brown women from pregnancy-related deaths to her work in OVA. Imani is an animal lover—she calls herself a “fur baby Mama”. She also enjoys cooking, reading, and writing poetry.

Email